My first WWOOFing experience in the UK - Weekend WWOOFing at Lower Shaw Farm.
I loved my time WWOOFing in Italy in 2016. WWOOFing allowed me the opportunity to be emerged in the Italian culture, meet new friends, to get hands-on experience working on a farm, and the opportunity to learn about sustainable living and lifestyle. So when I ‘settled’ in the UK and started working full time (the grind of Monday to Friday), I wanted to continue with my WWOOFing journey on the weekends.
What is WWOOF(ing) I hear you say. WWOOF stands for ‘World Wide Opportunity on Organic Farms’; it has also been known as Wiling Workers on Organic Farms. In short, WWOOF links travellers/volunteers (aka WWOOFers) with organic farms/growers (aka Hosts) "to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange, thereby helping to build a sustainable, global community" (definition cited by WWOOF UK site - here).
My first weekend WWOOFing experience came in November 2017 at Lower Shaw Farm in Swindon, UK.
I made my way from Reading to Swindon via train then to the Lower Shaw Farm via bus (all travel details were provided to me by email from my hosts). When I finally arrived, I was welcomed by other volunteers, my weekend hosts (Andrea and Matt) and a beautiful hearty dinner. Over dinner, introductions were made, rules were explained and goals for the weekend were discussed. In a short time, I felt relaxed, welcomed and comfortable in the presence of people I’d never met before – this was hugely due to the atmosphere set by Andrea, Matt, and other farm residents. After dinner, we all sat around a warm fireplace and exchanged stories and made friends that would last beyond the weekend ahead.
Let the weekend begin...
The next day, hello Saturday, I found myself planting seedlings in one of many flower gardens; enjoying the sun and dimming heat on my back with my hands in the dirt. Once done, I moved onto cleaning out one of the vegetable patches and chasing sneaky chickens around a fruit patch that they broke into.
The afternoon was spent feeding the animals and cleaning out one of several outbuildings – the theatre building.
Given the weather was turning cool and the sun was setting earlier, the workday ended around 4pm. Once the workday was over, you had plenty of ‘me time’. I couldn’t help myself; I found myself spending time with the animals, sitting in the setting sun, and catching up with new-found-friends. One of the best things about Lower Shaw Farm was there are so many things to check out and explore; there is a Hayloft, a yoga studio, outbuildings which were converted into workshops, and you gotta try the awesome turf-roofed rustic sauna.
On the last day (Sunday), the day ended around 1pm. But before then, it was a morning of physical work where I nominated to move animal manure from one area to the vegetable patches then move mulch from the front yard to another fruit garden – oh, my personal trainer would have loved to see me do this. It had been a while since I used a wheelbarrow and a rake but it safe to say, it all came back to me pretty quickly – lol.
Oh, The food..
The food…. OMG, the food was fantastic. All were healthy vegetarian homemade meals so yummy and filling you went back for seconds or thirds – if there was any left. AND there was also healthy desserts too…
Saying goodbye.. for now
After cleaning up, packing my luggage and a goodbye lunch, my first weekend WWOOFing experience was sadly over. I had the best time on Lower Shaw Farm; everyone was friendly, knowledgeable and social. I can’t wait to return for another WWOOFing weekend in 2018.
Give it a go yourself..
If you are looking for a unique, educational and welcoming WWOOFing experience than I highly recommend WWOOFing at Lower Shaw Farm. I guarantee that your time there will be one of your most memorable traveling experience to write home about..
Check out Lower Shaw Farm yourself..
You don’t need to be a WWOOFer to help out at Lower Shaw Farm – they have ‘working-bees’ where you can volunteer to help out for a weekend and they also have many workshops and classes you can attend. For more information about Lower Shaw Farm and their goings-on, check out their website: http://www.lowershawfarm.co.uk/
Check out WWOOFing yourself..
If you're interested in an alternative way to experience the world and the opportunity to get hands-on working experience about the workings of organic farming and sustainable living and lifestyle, then check out WWOOFing site yourself. There are several sites you can access on-line, just google the country you are interested in WWOOFing in and the country; example: WWOOF UK, WWOOF Canada. There is the link to WWOOF UK that I'm currently a member of.
If you are interested in reading more of my WWOOFing journey than check out:
- How travel volunteering started for me - find the link here
- 12 lessons learnt whilst WWOOFing in Italy - find the link here
If you enjoyed this article or/and found it helpful/useful, feel free to leave a comment, like and/or share. If you are a WWOOFer yourself, please get in touch, I would love to hear from you..